Friday, November 5, 2010


In a post back in early October, I mentioned Ellen J. Langer’s 1979 experiment in mind-body connection, in which she, in essence, mentally time-traveled a group of men in their seventies and eighties decades into the past, resulting in significant, positive changes in their physical health.  I was so intrigued by this story that I immediately ordered Langer’s book Counter Clockwise.  I’ve finally started reading it and it didn’t take long to come across a quote that went straight to the center of my soul:

The fact that something has not happened doesn’t mean it cannot happen; it only means the way to make it happen is as yet unknown.

As someone who believes that the (apparent) limits of the possible exist only to be exploded—as that quote over there on the left attests—I was delighted to come across such  a powerful reminder of a truth I already know, but still, for all my efforts, sometimes forget.

In my book Imaginalis, the main character, Mehera Crosby, is guided on her adventure by words that many would dismiss as childish imagination:  “Because it’s impossible, I’ll do it.  Because it’s unbelievable, I’ll believe.”  To me this isn’t an immature world view, this is the essence of our existence.  For all the strangeness and suffering life can offer, it’s been my experience that we truly inhabit a universe of magic and miracles—one universe in a simultaneity of universes that we step into and out of with more frequency than we realize—and the more we acknowledge that, the more we realize that the sky isn’t the limit, that the only real limits are in our own heads, the more that magic will come alive for us.  Respond to us.  Transform the world within and around us.  

Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it can’t.  If we keep our eyes wide, open to the endless impossibilities the universe has to offer, the miracles will come.

Feel free to remind me of that if I forget again.  And I hope, in some small way, I’ve reminded you.
©copyright 2010  J.M. DeMatteis


  1. Well, let's all keep reminding each other, David.

  2. A very open minded philosophy that I wholly support. It reminds me of Bruce Lee's "Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation." It makes one think, reevaluate, and open up the mind, body and soul to all kinds of possibilities. "When will I learn it all? When there is nothing more to learn. When will there be nothing more to learn? When you have learned it all." Never ending possibilities. That's life.

  3. Every once in a while I like to wax philosophical. Who knew? I am also a big Bruce Lee fan, and aside from being an amazing martial artist, he was quite the philosopher. One of the book I have about him that I like a lot is titled "Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body." He was one individual who truly embraced the mind, body, spirit aspect of the human condition. Thanks for sharing too, JM.

  4. Based on those Lee quotes, A. Jaye, I suspect you'd enjoy reading the TAO TE CHING. Next time you're in a book store, check out a translation or two and see if they resonate. (Beatles trivia: the George Harrison song "The Inner Light" -- B-Side of "Lady Madonna" -- takes most of its lyrics straight from that book. "The farther one travels, the less one knows...")

  5. "Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it can’t."

    Words to live by, and something I'm trying to transform from head knowledge into heart knowledge. Thank you, for this entry.

    And I don't know how relevant to the entry this is, but since I was thinking about this entry when I realized/thought-up the below I thought I'd post it.

    We have four sets of doors at each of the entrances at my work. Two of the entrance have manual double doors on either end with two automatic sliding doors in the middle.

    I've noticed that frequently people who are heading to the manual doors will stop, back up, and alter their path if they accidentally trigger one of the sliding doors.

    This, then, led me to think about people and life... I wonder how many of us stop the course we're on, discard the path we've chosen (on one level or another), because we see another open?

    It doesn't matter that the path we were on was completely able to be traversed and, unless it was already a path we took because it was "Easier" and not a path that called to us (whether mental or soulful in nature), would have probably ended in a more fulfilling way.

    Oh, sure, we can justify it to ourselves, no matter how flimsily, and we're likely to accept it. And if we accept it but don't believe it, eventually we may suppress the doubt and think it true.

    But where the is the truth in that? The calling? The destiny? It may be easier to go the route that looks, well, easier, but does that mean we should go it?

    And sure, I know that sometimes our true paths DO just open up to us but I imagine most of the time it does require some effort on our part (even if that effort primarily entails being able to reach a point in which one is capable of surrendering) most of the time... especially when what our truths are telling us defy, renounce, reject, disregard, or just generally goes against conventional, logical, reason and commonsense-wisdom.

    (Actually, it does kind of get back on track with the your entry!) When what we want, when where our chosen path will take us, seems impossible or improbable, how many of us jump track to the first easier path we cross?

    I'm starting to realize that believing in the impossible, that striving for it, working against the odds to achieve it, even if you fail, will lead you to a place more fulfilling and meaningful than any number of "sliding doors."

  6. I'll make a note and keep an eye out for it. Thank, J.M.

  7. Wonderful, Kyle. Thanks for sharing that.

  8. So... I felt kind of long winded there and just wanted to apologize for possibly getting overly wordy here, sometimes.

    It's been a while since that's happened elsewhere, truthfully. This place, your words and ideas and beliefs, and the people here in the comment sections, it all seems to inspire my word flow. That said, I'll try to keep my rambling replies down in their word count.

  9. NOTHING to apologize about, Kyle. I appreciated -- and enjoyed -- every word!

  10. Seconded. Judging by your post, Kyle, I'd say you could have a second career as a spiritual/devotional writer.

  11. Thank you, to both you, JMD, and David.

  12. You're VERY welcome, Dimensionid. (I'm assuming that's not the name on your birth certificate.)

  13. Odd. I logged in with the Kyle Urban account. The internet has a mind of it's own sometime (or, poor computers at work)

  14. Ah, so it was you all along, Kyle. Makes total sense now!

  15. Yeah... and actually, looking at the time, it was on my laptop and not at work. I'm not sure why, but even when I log in with my actual name, it defaults to the dimensionld account I made and no longer use.

    I once used all sorts of screen names and what not but have since reached a point where I feel like it's pointless to NOT use my actual name when possible. Apparently Google/Blogspot has a different idea on the subject.

  16. Kyle Urban shocked the world today when he announced, "I am Dimensionld!":)

    This preempted the Stark press conference, which did not put its CEO in a good humor. When asked for comment, Mr. Stark would only say, "Oh, never mind!"

  17. *applauds David*

    Though, if Tony were a villain I'd be worried about just what he may do in return. I'd maybe have to try to get Batman to help protect me and hope he can take out Iron Man with one punch.

  18. If we're talking preemptive strike Batman, I'm guessing Tony would get a complementary bottle of champagne courtesy of Wayne Industries.

    (I think Bruce is a lot nicer than that at his core, I'm just saying by some accounts...)

  19. Yeah, I think Bruce (which already does give to major charities and scholarships and causes and all that) has a less pessimistic world view than he lets on (even if only in his core). He'd have to be to do all of the above in the first place.

    I think a true, deeply rooted, pessimist wouldn't bother since he'd most likely think people would never get better,the wold will never improve.

    I imagine part of it is that he feels/knows if he lets himself consciously think/feel that way he won't have the same drive/initiative to remain the Batman and stay on mission.

  20. My friend got vol.1 of SEEKERS I sent. His words, "Brilliant book! I will have to read it again. Is the next book out already? It resonates rather well with a Shaman book I've been slowly reading."

    Then I broke the news of the current state of the trades to him and what Mark Waid said about it.

  21. Very glad your friend enjoyed SEEKERS...and thanks again for passing it on.

    I suspect the rest of the series will be reprinted one way or another, at one publisher or another. It's just a question of time and patience.

  22. I've always been of the mindset that I want patience and I want it NOW!!!

  23. Patience? What is this patience you speak? Isn't that what doctors work on? *ba dun dun tch*

    But in all seriousness, and totally off subject, I was reading a thread on a forum I frequent and they were talking about the characters Cloak and Dagger. The general consensus seems to be that the characters are boring and have never had anything done with them because they're mostly dull characters.

    The power of light and dark working together. A character with access to a dark dimension that craves light to feast on and a character with the power of soul healing light as partners...

    I just find it difficult to see how someone, after all the years of their creation, weren't able to really see the potential for some powerful stories with them (beyond just a war on drugs).

    Then the thought crossed my mind that you, JMD, would probably do some amazing story lines with them if you ever wrote them. You've got a lot of books written that I never knew you wrote prior to this blog (Star Wars, Defenders (Indefensible aside), the extent of your Spider-Man run, etc) so I have no idea if you've ever written Cloak and Dagger.

    If not, have any stories for them ever crossed your grey matter enough to try and get a series through at Marvel?

  24. I only wrote Cloak and Dagger as part of a huge Spider-Man crossover -- "Maximum Carnage," one of my least favorite Spidey stories ever -- and didn't really get a chance to sink my teeth into them. That said, I certainly see the potential, perhaps huge potential, in the characters.

    The truth is, EVERY character has huge potential. Think of the idea of Spider-Man: a teenager is bitten by a radioactive spider and starts climbing walls and shooting webs. Could've been the lamest hero ever, but Lee and Ditko's approach made Spidey revolutionary. In the end, it's all in what you DO with the character.

  25. Maximum Carnage seems to get a lot of dislike from a broad scope of people. I've never read it, myself, but find I tend to be a sucker for these big, cross title, multi-part stories.

    "The truth is, EVERY character has huge potential."

    This is very true. Reminds me of another idea a friend and I need to get back to.

    ...oh the joys of procrastination and excuses...

    I blame Starting (well, actually I blame me). Starting is a lot more difficult than finishing. BUT I am working on getting past all of these outmoded negative aspects I have and slowly going from "Thinking about Starting" to actually "Starting."

    Yay! Progress!

  26. You're not alone with that starting problem, Kyle. Every time I begin a new project, I feel as if I've never written a word before and it's always difficult getting moving. But once the move begins, it's hard to stop it.

    I've learned to honor seeming procrastination as part of the process: my unconscious mind chewing the story over; but if it gets in the way and seriously prevents you from doing the work you want to do, then that's not a good thing.

  27. "Maximum Carnage" was an awesome video game!

  28. Well, then SOMETHING good came out of it!

    I actually do have one favorite part of the "MC" crossover, David. In one of my chapters, there's a scene where Spider-Man gets his head handed to him. He's beaten, wounded. Crawling through Central Park. Then a pair of booted feet appear. The page turns and we get a double page spread of Captain America -- as only Sal Buscema could draw him -- reaching out to Spidey. "Can I lend you a hand, son?" he says.

    The whole crossover was worth it just to see the magic Sal worked with that sequence.

  29. You know, I can't remember if I ever read any of MC. I seem to recall taking a break from Spider-Man and comics in general around that time. The Harry Osborn saga was over, I was exhausted by the lingering Parker parents plotline in ASM (as was Michelinie), and it seemed like a good jumping off point.

    "The Death of Superman" brought me back into the fold, and I came back to Spider-Man during the buildup to the Clone Saga, "Lifetheft." I got a sense of some of the ideas behind MC from "Shrieking," so there was definitely something there that probably got watered down.

    I know people tend to have a strong reaction to MC, one way or the other. Some people feel it was the height of high octane action with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in. Others think it represents the worst of 90s excess. I'm not sure. One of these days I'll buy the TPB. I have a feeling I'd enjoy it, but I grew up on 80s action flicks. I know how to occassionally tell my brain to shut up and enjoy the ride.

    I will say this--you wouldn't be the first person to think the Cap scene was the highlight of the crossover. There's something amazing about those kind of Cap moments--like everything's going to be all right when Steve shows up.

    I've always wondered if you were a fan of symbiotes, JMD. I'm guessing you weren't a big fan of Venom or Carnage at the time.

  30. Not a fan of either of those characters although a) I enjoyed playing Carnage off Joker in my Spider-Man/Batman crossover (although I would have preferred the story without him) and b) Dan Slott has done some interesting things with the character. I read one of his arcs and it was the first time I've ever had any kind of emotional reaction to Eddie Brock.

  31. You might try Zeb Wells' VENOM: DARK ORIGINS series, too. It was pretty good.

    There's a new SPIDER-MAN/IRON MAN crossover series that features Carnage as the villain, but I haven't read the first issue yet.

    I must say, though, I love the Michelinie/McFarlane Venom. ASM 300 and then 316-17 are classic!

    If I had my way, Peter Parker or a resurrected Ben Reilly would take the symbiote on again. And not as villains. I liked the original idea that the symbiote could learn good human behavior just as well as bad, which is why it saved Peter in WOS1.

  32. Bottom line for me is that I just don't care for either of those characters and have zero interest in writing them.

  33. To quote HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER's Barney Stinson, "Challenge accepted!":)

    Here's why, in no uncertain terms, you should write the next Venom epic:

    He rocks! And stuff. And he's a playable character in the MC video game.

    Admittedly, this would work better if we were all twelve...

  34. Well, it helps knowing I'm not the only one that finds starting hard. Started various aspects of a few different projects... while it's not full blown writing yet, it's, well, a start.

  35. Deadlines really help, Kyle. Maybe you should tell yourself you'll have X pages written by a certain date and treat it as if an editor is waiting for the work. That might help you move deeper into your story...and once you're in, you won't want to get out.

  36. Thinking about it, I'd definitely have to agree that deadlines do help with the motivation. I'd have to find some way to trick myself into thinking the pretend deadline is a real deadline.

    If it's information you can give out would you be opposed to letting me know what (from your experience, on average) a typical deadline length for an issue or two is with a major comic company? It would be very much appreciated.

  37. It really depends, Kyle. Working on a mini-series -- in theory, at least -- gives you more time, whereas on the monthly books, despite everyone's best efforts, you're often up against the wall. I've written scripts and seen them appear in print weeks later.

    In an ideal world, you're three months ahead of the book's on sale date, which gives you time to breathe. (For me, "time to breathe" means a a full week to work on a 22 page script.) But there's almost always some crisis, someone in the creative chain who slows down, and you're often writing as fast as you can. Which can sometimes be exhilarating and sometimes a nightmare. There have been times when I've had to dialogue 22 pages in a day!

  38. Wow, that sounds like it can get pretty hectic and crazy, JMD (is the shortening of your name like that alright or would you prefer it written out?). I do find I tend to do better of pressure (well, if I can reach that perfect pressure-balance between breathing-easy and drowning).

    Looking at the examples you gave I think, for starters, a one to two week deadline seems like a good starting point, I think. Much thanks for the info.

    The first sample-script I ever did was for a six issue Superman storyline. If I recall right (it was years ago now) once I started the first issue everything else just kind of fell into place and all six were done in two or three weeks. While they weren't Eisner award winning levels of greatness or anything, it seemed to be a decent Superman story (if one disregards that I was pretty much guessing at the script formatting and all that).

    After that I started a sample script 12 issue JLA storyline that I don't believe I ever got past issue 2 on. It was around that point that I started giving in to the voice of "reason." The voice that says "why bother, it's so unlikely that anything will come of this that it's not worth your time."

    I've grown tired of that voice. I've come to realize that dreams are meant to be striven for and not be swept under a rug and ignored, which is why I've jumped back into writing.

    I'd been lying if I said you haven't been a big influence/inspiration in my getting back to writing since I stumbled across this here site.

    “If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” -Robert Fritz

    It's very true, and I'm tired of compromising on my future.

    (...and again I apologize for the wordiness...)

  39. And, again, I say don't apologize. Speak your heart and mind freely here.

    And, Kyle, if I've been an inspiration to you in any small way, I'm INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL. (And, yes, JMD is fine.)

  40. Okay then, JMD, I shall not apologize (it is a problem I'm working on, apologizing too much). In fact, I hereby wave my ret-con wand and make it so that I never apologized, instead I talked about pie.

    Who doesn't love pie?